It’s 60s British Invasion night on American Idol, and I for one am ready. Randy Jackson is as well, and says he doesn’t want any excuses for forgetting the lyrics, as he’s expecting them all to bring their A game tonight. Paula Abdul warns everyone to shake out their nerves, and if they can’t, to picture Simon Cowell not dressed. Hmm. I can’t decide if I want to do that or not. Simon asks if if that’s all she thinks about.
We get a quick introduction to the music from the British Invasion, and Ryan Seacrest tells us it began with four young men from Liverpool. As we see them touch down on American soil, I just have to mention this was a few months before I was born. Of the performers from that era are Peter Noone from Herman’s Hermits and Lulu. Tonight they’re the mentors for the Idols, with Peter mentoring the guys, singing I’m into Something Good with them, and Lulu working with the gals, and singing Shout. She thinks it’s pretty interesting that these girls weren’t born when they songs were big, and Peter notes that the fans of American Idol are somewhat like the ones the Beatles experienced at Shea Stadium.
Haley Scarnato meets with Lulu and tells her she wants to sing Tell Him by Billie Davis this week. Her goal is to be more aggressive and not so sweet. Lulu thinks this is perfect for her and asks her to shorten her phrasing to be more staccato. She explains a lot has been said so far this season about big voices, and that’s fine, but Haley needs to find her own sound. That warbling you heard in this first weeks of the competition was just that. Haley sounds the best I’ve heard her tonight, though, but it’s her outfit that is most notworthy. She’s wearing short tight pants, and a blouse with nothing underneath and fully open in the back … and 4″ heels. She goes out to sing on the catwalk, and coming back to the judges, Simon is literally gaping at her.
Randy admits he’s been saying all season it’s all about song choice, and this was the perfect choice for Haley. He pronounces her back in the competition and even says it has the “yo factor written all over it.” Paula thinks Haley had a girlish quality about her, and agrees it was a perfect song for her, showing a flirtatious side. She says it was adorable. Simon starts his critique saying, “You naughty little thing …” He thinks this is a different side to Hailey, fun and young, although he found the song a bit shrieky in the middle. Yet, when all is done, he thinks people will be talking about something other than her singing. It just makes me think of that dress she wore into the auditions that Paula referred to as a “Hoochie Mama Dress.” Ryan wonders if Simon will be in trouble with his girlfriend because of some of the glares he was giving Haley. Not glares, Ryan, gapes.
Ryan greets a little girl in the audience who is crying and asks her if it’s tears of joy. I have to admit if I was her age and sitting there watching American Idol, I’d be doing the same thing. Hell, if I was my age now I think I might be crying.
Chris Richardson’s goal is to finally nail a song, and he tries out Gary and the Pacemakers’ Don’t Let the Sun Get You Crying for Peter. He wants to be able to connect more as opposed to jumping around all the time and showing everyone he’s a great performer. He wants to show them he’s a great singer too. Peter thinks he already looks like a star, yet he didn’t hear a lot of it in his voice. There may be something, but he hears more of that whispery tone. He also warns him to stick with the melody, as it’s one of the great melodies of his lifetime. Singing it tonight, Chris has a Bobby Darin look going on, and is sitting on a stool next to a guitar player. I’m normally not a fan of his voice, but he sang absolutely beautiful tonight, although at times, it was a little bit boring.
Randy calls it a really great performance and says it showed a different side to Chris. When he sings soft and doesn’t push it, every note was in tune, and it was beautiful. He calls it one of Chris’ best vocals yet. Paula says it’s all about being smart with choices, and she thinks he’s playing the game to win it. The arrangement and the acoustic thing were all very sexy and charming. Simon thinks it was Chris’ best performance so far. His control of the song was excellent, and most importantly, he didn’t make the song sound old-fashioned. Simon still thinks he’s a little bit nasally, though. Chris admits to Ryan it was hard to keep it straight and not put in his runs all over the place like he usually does. But, it paid off, Chris.
Stephanie Edwards takes a viewer question with Ryan, and Wanda would like to know what the hardest part about getting ready each week is. Stephanie says it’s just picking the song, as the judges always talk about song choice, and making sure it fits you and you can do your best with it. She tells Ryan everyone is more focused this week to do their best performance in order to make the top ten and go on tour. Ah-ha! So that’s what it’s all about.
Lulu calls Stephanie “Gorgeous” when she meets her. Stephanie sings Dusty Springfield’s You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me, and Lulu says she was grounded and sang the whole song practically looking in her eyes, and says she reminded her of Beyonce when she sang. She sounds great with this, and Lulu thinks a fantastic band and brilliant arrangement will only make it better. Stephanie starts singing tonight, and she’s just too affected. It’s not nearly and sweet and simple as it was with Lulu earlier. This girl has got to stop trying to be Melinda and Lakisha. She needs to just be herself.